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8 Ways to Relieve Neck Pain

8 Ways to Relieve Neck Pain

Been working late on your laptop? Slept in some awkward position? Not used to playing tennis or golf for more than an hour but still played for half a day with friends? At one point or another, you must have felt some stiffness or pain in your neck, shoulders or back. I am not an expert in the field, but I work a lot on laptop frequently and experience pain in my shoulders, upper back and neck quite often and I know some tricks. So, here are some tried and tested remedies which might be very useful to release the stiffness. You can do a few of them right in your office. before popping pain killers, try following these eight ways to naturally relieve neck pain.

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    1. Hot water compresses.

    This is the simplest remedy you can try at home. Just apply a hot water bag or heat packs to your neck and shoulders. This helps increase the blood circulation in the area and give some relief. Some people prefer cold packs. Try both of them to figure out which works for you.

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    2. Massages.

    Ask a friend or a friendly relative to gently massage your trapezius muscle, which extends from the base of your skull down to your back and shoulders. This will ease the muscles and help you relax. But be sure to make certain that the massage is not too harsh.

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      3. Neck exercises.

      Rotate your neck. Breath in while bringing your head back and breath out while lowering your chin towards your chest. Rotate your head very gently in clockwise directions 7-8 times. Repeat in a counterclockwise direction. Do this very gently. Your aim is to relax the muscles, not to stress you out even more. Regular movement helps the muscles stay stronger.

      4. Stretch your shoulders.

      Roll your shoulders backwards and forward. Lock your fingers, and raise your arms above your head. Look straight ahead and don’t shrug. Hold for one minute and lower your arms. Relax, roll your shoulders once again and then repeat the stretch. Do not do any stretches, which could potentially increase your pain. Better, contact a chiropractor to show you some simple stretches that will relax your muscles further.

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      5. De-stress yourself.

      Clasp your fists together at your back. Pulling your shoulders together, try lifting your hands as high as possible. Hold for a few seconds, relax, and then repeat this de-stressing exercise. This is one of the stretches which I do frequently, sometimes several times a day. A very simple exercise to try.

      6. Avoid uncomfortable positions and activity.

      Avoid driving, heavy lifting, or sitting in any position which will stress your shoulders and neck even more. Avoid neck collars as well. Restricting movement might do more harm than good.

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      7. Try “healing” foods.

      Dark chocolate. Yes, you get candy. It provides flavonols, compounds that help improve blood flow to those tired muscles. Blueberries, pomegranates, pumpkin seeds, ginger and cherries also have anti-inflammatory properties and, in turn, soothe the muscles.

      8. Don’t be shy about resting up.

      Take a day off. Go home. Relax. Watch your favorite movie and go to sleep. Make sure you sleep on a low and firm pillow, as this will prevent unnecessary bending of your neck.

      And if none of those work, contact your doctor immediately. The pain could be resulting from some serious underlying problem which you need to get checked immediately. 

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        Featured photo credit: Kurt Komoda via flickr.com

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        Last Updated on February 25, 2020

        Face Adversity with a Smile

        Face Adversity with a Smile

        I told my friend Graham that I often cycle the two miles from my house to the town centre but unfortunately there is a big hill on the route. He replied, ‘You mean fortunately.’ He explained that I should be glad of the extra exercise that the hill provided.

        My attitude to the hill has now changed. I used to grumble as I approached it but now I tell myself the following. This hill will exercise my heart and lungs. It will help me to lose weight and get fit. It will mean that I live longer. This hill is my friend. Finally as I wend my way up the incline I console myself with the thought of all those silly people who pay money to go to a gym and sit on stationery exercise bicycles when I can get the same value for free. I have a smug smile of satisfaction as I reach the top of the hill.

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        Problems are there to be faced and overcome. We cannot achieve anything with an easy life. Helen Keller was the first deaf and blind person to gain a University degree. Her activism and writing proved inspirational. She wrote, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

        One of the main determinants of success in life is our attitude towards adversity. From time to time we all face hardships, problems, accidents, afflictions and difficulties. Some are of our making but many confront us through no fault of our own. Whilst we cannot choose the adversity we can choose our attitude towards it.

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        Douglas Bader was 21 when in 1931 he had both legs amputated following a flying accident. He was determined to fly again and went on to become one of the leading flying aces in the Battle of Britain with 22 aerial victories over the Germans. He was an inspiration to others during the war. He said, “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”

        How can you change your attitude towards the adversity that you face? Try these steps:

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        1. Confront the problem. Do not avoid it.
        2. Deliberately take a positive attitude and write down some benefits or advantages of the situation.
        3. Visualise how you will feel when you overcome this obstacle.
        4. Develop an action plan for how to tackle it.
        5. Smile and get cracking.

        The biographies of great people are littered with examples of how they took these kinds of steps to overcome the difficulties they faced. The common thread is that they did not become defeatist or depressed. They chose their attitude. They opted to be positive. They took on the challenge. They won.

        Featured photo credit: Jamie Brown via unsplash.com

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